Since the 1970‘s there have been numerous studies proving that talcum–based powders can cause ovarian cancer in women. Consumer healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been aware of the fatal and disastrous results of their products, such as Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower, for many years but yet the company continues to leave their products on the market without a warning label. Company documents made public through a recent trial revealed that company executives called the baby powder products a “sacred cow” that must stay in the baby product aisle despite the devastating risks associated with the products.
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In July, 2018, a jury in St. Louis awarded $4.69 Billion ($4,690,000,000) to 22 women with ovarian cancer in Ingham, et al., V. J&J, et al., based on evidence showing that J&J knew their products contained asbestos but rigged tests to hide that fact. Even after all of this, Johnson & Johnson still does not include warning labels on any of their talcum based products.
Another fact proven during the $4.69 Billion trial is that Johnson & Johnson has been destroying testing evidence for decades so that no court or jury can evaluate their claims that the products are “asbestos-free”. Instead, the company has hired paid consultants known for their past work on behalf of Big Tobacco and the asbestos industry geared towards whitewashing the facts and manufacturing doubt about the science.
Ovarian cancer is a horrible disease that is nearly always fatal. Additionally, science proves that asbestos in talc can cause other cancers, including mesothelioma, lung cancer and laryngeal cancer. These cancers have also been definitely linked to asbestos by the World Health Organization’s cancer agency, IARC. In fact, a jury in New Jersey recently awarded a plaintiff with mesothelioma $117,000,000 that was caused by regular use of baby powder contaminated with asbestos. Many more trials are scheduled in the future against these companies that have talc products contaminated with asbestos.
FDA Recall – Asbestos found in J&J Talcum Powder
J&J recently recalled 33,000 bottles of its popular baby powder after tests by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found traces of asbestos (Johnson & Johnson Recalls Baby Powder Over Asbestos Worry). The recall represents the first time J&J has removed any of its baby powder products from the marketplace despite decades of concerns that talc causes cancer.
The FDA’s findings could have an enormous impact on the more than 15,000 lawsuits that have been filed against J&J alleging the development of cancer, including mesothelioma and ovarian cancer, from the use of baby powder and other talc–based products. “I can‘t imagine an attorney for Johnson & Johnson standing up in front of a jury now and saying with a straight face that the product is safe,” said Rutgers University law professor David Noll.
Plaintiffs in talc lawsuits have contended for years that J&J failed to warn its baby powder customers of possible asbestos contamination, despite longtime knowledge of the risks. Last year the New York Times uncovered internal memos and reports proving that J&J executives have suspected asbestos contamination in talc for over 50 years
Nevertheless, J&J continued its longstanding denial of any dangers presented by its products, releasing a statement that “thousands of tests over the past 40 years repeatedly confirm that our consumer talc products do not contain asbestos.” Spokeswoman Gloria Sánchez-Contreras responded that “the F.D.A. stands by the quality of its testing and results” and recommended that consumers stop using baby powder from the tainted lot immediately.
J&J attempted to calm fears about the dangers posed by its talc products by stressing that the asbestos detected was a small percentage of the sample, but United States health agencies have found no known safe level of exposure to asbestos. As one would expect, health risks are indeed greater with increased exposure to asbestos, but the National Cancer Institute has discovered diseases in people with only extremely brief exposures.
The FDA’s discovery of asbestos in baby powder products currently offered for sale to consumers only makes the case stronger for those who have developed cancer from exposure to J&J’s products.